Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach spoke to screenwriter Tony Kushner about 'Barbie' during a Q&A in New York City
Is Greta Gerwig living in a Barbie dream?
On Thursday, Gerwig, 40, and her Barbie co-writer and real-life partner Noah Baumbach appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City for a Q&A moderated by writer Tony Kushner.
"This definitely feels like a moment that I could potentially wake up from and think, 'No, that was a dream,' " Gerwig said after Kushner began the discussion by calling Barbie a "masterpiece."
"This is incredible and I can't tell you how much it means that you did this," she added, noting that Kushner recently sent her and Baumbach, 54, an email praising their efforts on the Margot Robbie film that dominated the box office this summer.
"Noah read [the email] to me out loud and I was like, 'frame it, frame the computer,' " she added of the note from Kushner, the writer behind Angels in America, Lincoln and The Fabelmans.
While Baumbach echoed his thoughts from another recent Q&A that he originally was not sure about taking on the project, he said Thursday he eventually advocated for Gerwig to direct the movie herself after they completed work on Barbie's screenplay.
"There was a point where I was like, 'You have to direct it,' because we have to protect it. Because as we started to really enjoy [writing the movie], and really it was like we're totally mad, we were totally mad," Baumbach said. "We were, as many of us [were] in the pandemic, there was that isolation, so it kind of gave us this way of connection to a kind of future world where we hoped movies would be back and we'd all be back in a theater."
Gerwig and Baumbach crafted Barbie's script during the first year of the pandemic; Gerwig was eventually named the movie's director in July 2021. The pair said writing the movie during an uncertain period in the film industry helped them create the film's bold approach to Mattel's iconic toy brand.
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"We were writing it when no one was going to movies and there were no movies and no one was making movies," Gerwig recalled.
"There was also a feeling of 'There's no movies, nobody's making anything.' So there was this sort of go-for-broke quality in how we did it. Then once we were doing it, we felt like, 'We love this — and also, definitely no one will ever let us make this.' "
"That also gave us a level of protection and fearlessness because I think at one point we were like, 'Let's write the greatest script nobody can ever make or no one will ever let us make,' " added Gerwig, who is next working on a Chronicles of Narnia adaptation.
To kick off awards season, Ryan Gosling received a nomination for his supporting role as Ken at the upcoming Gotham Awards.
"I think there was a protection in that kind of unlikeliness of the whole thing that it gives you some cover to do things you wouldn't do if you thought it was going to actually happen," Gerwig said of the film's surprising success.
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